Hindsight is a wonderful thing. If only we had done the research first! Our cruise from Sydney to Southampton started with a very long queue, despite having "priority" boarding as suite passengers. There was no "priority", we were queued up with everybody else, and was surprised at how many people had turned up earlier than their advised embarkation time. Not a huge problem and certainly not anything to spoil our cruise.
When we finally arrived at our suite, we were welcomed by our very courteous and professional butler, and we were delighted with the Champagne, chocolates and bottled water in the fridge, not to mention the full set of White Company products in the bathroom. If we had found this website previously, we may not have been surprised at the size of the suite. As other passengers have already commented, it is not as big as expected and with the table and chairs being at the bottom of the bed, it can feel a little cramped. However, the balcony is huge, complete with sun loungers and a table and chairs. On our first night we met people who were doing the world cruise, and we heard many entertaining comments about the first half of the cruise. Tales of arguments and fights in the laundry, complete with people being "put off" due to their behaviour, was very amusing. During the cruise to Brisbane and Cairns we were very happy with our suite, however, we became aware that the engine noise during the evening did spoil the conversation with our fellow passengers at dinner, due to the noise of the engines. This turned out to be even worse during future the longer days at sea. More about this later in the cabin review.
Positives about the cruise included the pre booked shore excursions, which we found reasonably priced and well organised; the gym was very well equipped; the staff were very polite and hard working, and the entertainment was overall very good. The negatives, we would have to include the disappointment with the tiredness of the suite, and arriving back from a shore excursion to find men moving equipment on our balcony prior to sailing through the Panama Canal. Lucky the previous forum passenger who was informed 2 days earlier and received complementary wine!! We didn't even get a phone call. However, we don't want this review to be a list of negative comments, because our only real gripe was the noise in the suite and the subsequent handling of the unresolved problem. Other passengers had been moved to different cabins, but apparently "there were no other cabins" for us. We were not asking for compensation of any sort, hence we refused the meal and wine, but we are left feeling very let down by P&O cruises, despite us spending a small fortune on a half world cruise.
E185 has been discussed on the forum previously but we were unaware prior to our cruise. The vibration from the engines, particularly at night, caused the TV to shake and consequently create further noise. It became impossible to sleep on many nights, with the continuous creaking and groaning. It became so bad that one night we asked for the TV to be removed from the suite, or to be moved to another cabin. We were told there was no other cabins and were offered a "free" dining experience and bottle of wine, which we refused, as this was not a solution to the problem. A few days later, when we asked for the TV to be returned, we were told in no uncertain terms, and quite rudely, that "it would not be removed a second time, if the noise was the same". Therefore, if you are a light sleeper, do not book E185, save the money and book a smaller cabin, particularly if you are cruising for more than a week.
Used a taxi to the Mall of Asia which was quite an entertaining trip.
Fun and vibrant city with restaurants and shopping in easy reach.
Used the shuttle bus to go to the city of Brisbane. Lots of shops and restaurants.
Lovely welcome by the indigenous people.
Have been to Hong Kong previously so made our own way to the markets. Always good for a bargain.
Used the shuttle bus to make our way around and explore. Very clean.
Made our own way around.
Independent taxi to shopping area.
Great day in a friendly port.
Walked around shops. Weather started to get cooler.